Egyptian security forces arrested the top leader of the Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday, state media reported. His arrest came as authorities continued their deadly crackdown on protesters opposed to the military's ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, a longtime loyalist of the Islamist group.
Mohamed Badie, 70, the spiritual leader of the Brotherhood, was detained at a residence in Nasr City in northeastern Cairo, the state news agency said.
"That was after information came to the security apparatus locating his place of hiding," it said.
A White House representative condemned Badie's detention the same day, saying President Barack Obama would discuss the ongoing turmoil in Egypt in a regular Tuesday meeting with his national security team, Reuters reported.
Badie was moved to Tora prison in southern Cairo Tuesday, interior ministry sources told Al Jazeera.
Tora prison is where ousted President Hosni Mubarak and other leaders from his regime are being held.
ONTV, a private, pro-military satellite channel, aired footage purporting to show Badie after his arrest. The channel said that he was on his way to prison under tight security, quoting security sources.
LIVE BLOG: Egypt in turmoil
The Facebook page of Egypt's Interior Ministry also displayed pictures of Badie with a caption confirming his arrest "through collected information and observation of movements."
Badie and his powerful deputy, Khairat el-Shater, who is already in custody, will go on trial later this month for their alleged role in the killing of eight protesters outside the Brotherhood's Cairo headquarters in June.
Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith, reporting from Cairo, said Badie had been seen in public only once since Morsi was overthrown. "He made an appearance onstage at the sit-in protest at Rabaa Mosque," Smith said. "That was the only time anybody has seen him. He's been in hiding since then." With his arrest, most of the Muslim Brotherhood's leadership are now in the custody of the military-led government.
TIMELINE: Egypt since Morsi's ouster
Badie’s arrest follows five days of violent clashes between security forces and anti-coup protesters calling for the reinstatement of Morsi. Nearly 1,000 people have been killed.
Security forces said gunmen executed 25 off-duty policemen in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Monday after ambushing two mini-buses carrying the men. The attack came a day after 36 anti-coup protesters detained by security forces were killed north of Cairo as they were being transported to a prison — an incident for which there have been differing accounts.
Hazem el-Beblawi, Egypt's prime minister, proposed banning the Muslim Brotherhood Friday — a move that Brotherhood supporters feared could force the group back underground and usher in mass arrests of its members countrywide.
The Brotherhood announced Tuesday that Mahmoud Ezzat, 69, would serve as the groups temporary leader.
Ezzat, a professor at the Zagazig University College of Medicine, which is 50 miles northeast of Cairo, was imprisoned with Badie for close to a decade in 1965, after which he rose in the Brotherhood's leadership.
In 1995 he was imprisoned for being a leader of the Brotherhood, which was outlawed under the Mubarak administration, and in 2008 he was arrested for protesting Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.
The international community is keeping a close eye on the events in Egypt. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for a "full investigation" into the prisoner deaths Sunday. Martin Nesirky, Ban’s spokesman, said the U.N. chief was "deeply disturbed by the reported deaths" of the prisoners during what authorities have claimed was an escape attempt.
On Tuesday the Philippines ordered the mandatory evacuation from Egypt of its 6,000 nationals after Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario visited the country. "The marked deterioration of peace and order in Egypt, exacerbated by the ongoing political instability and grave security challenges in that country, make working and living there increasingly difficult and dangerous," his department said in a statement.
While U.S. politicians debate cutting the $1.3 billion in annual aid to Egypt, Saudi Arabia pledged to fill any financial gaps left by Western countries. Despite Qatar's criticism of the July 3 military coup that removed Morsi from power, the gas-rich nation has dispatched a second shipment of free liquefied natural gas it had pledged to Egypt, the QNA state news agency said late Monday. Qatar has pledged an aid package of $5 billion to Egypt, comprising $4 billion in bank deposits and a grant of $1 billion.
On Monday, Egypt's public prosecutor ordered the democratically elected Morsi to be detained for 15 days over allegations that he participated in "violent acts" last December. The 15-day order will begin at the end of a 30-day order issued on Thursday related to allegations of collusion with foreign groups and spying.
Al Jazeera and wires services